Shahrir withdraws bid to recuse Justice Nazlan following news of the latter's transfer

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 8): Former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad has today withdrawn his application to recuse High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali from hearing the application he put in to transfer his money laundering case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

This follows news that Justice Nazlan will be transferring from the High Court's criminal division to the High Court's civil division, effective this March 1.

Shahrir's counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin told that they are withdrawing the recusal application due to this transfer order, and asked for a case management date to be fixed for his client's application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

As such, the court has fixed March 1 for case management, said Shahrul Syazwan, who is also Shahrir's solicitor.

Firoz Hussein said the court may decide on March 1 who will hear the application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

On Dec 21, it was reported that Shahrir, formerly Johor Baru member of Parliament, on Dec 17 in his affidavit in support pointed out that Justice Nazlan was the same judge who presided over former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's SRC International Sdn Bhd case on July 28.

"One of the allegations against me based on the cause papers is that the AmIslamic Bank cheque given by Najib to me came from his account bearing number 2112022011906, which was the subject matter in the SRC case.

"In Justice Nazlan's written judgement dated Aug 21, the court made findings of fact against Najib. Hence, I believe that there is a real possibility of bias as he presided over and decided on the SRC case, and the submissions raised by my lawyers were based on the findings of fact that he made," Shahrir added in his affidavit in support.

For these reasons, the politician applied for Justice Nazlan to recuse himself.

Shahrir, 71, claimed trial on Jan 22 last year to the money laundering charge, being accused of failing to declare to the Inland Revenue Board a sum of RM1 million of 1Malaysia Development Bhd money that he allegedly received from Najib seven years ago.

Shahril, once the federal territories minister, was charged under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

He faces a fine of up to RM5 million, five years' jail or both if convicted.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed had sanctioned Justice Nazlan's transfer to the civil division from the criminal division, following the retirement of Justice Wong Chee Lin.

"The transfer is a normal practice," the Federal Court chief registrar's office said in a statement dated Jan 21, in confirming Justice Nazlan's transfer.

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